A couple of weeks ago, San Diego Gas and Electric employee Emmanuel Cafferty was driving a company truck on a highway near where a Black Lives Matter rally was underway in Poway, CA. His arm hung out of his truck’s window.
NBC San Diego reports that a stranger noticed Cafferty’s hand formed what he believed was the “white power” gesture – thumb and index finger forming a circle, other fingers extended and separated. Most of us have grown up believing this gesture was a signal that everything was “okay.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, this gesture…”has been used in recent years by white supremacists to form the letters W and P, but has also long been used as a sign signifying “OK” or approval. Therefore it shouldn’t be assumed to be a white supremacy symbol unless there is other evidence to support those claims.”
Anyway, the stranger took a photo of Cafferty and posted it on Twitter. The caption said Cafferty was making the white power gesture.
NBC reports that soon afterward, Cafferty’s supervisor notified him that he was suspended while the company investigated the incident. A few days later, Cafferty was fired.
Cafferty told NBC he had never heard of this gesture before this came up and was “just cracking his knuckles.” I find that entirely believable. I hadn’t heard of it either until a couple of years ago when Zina Gelman Bash, a Jewish Mexican-American lawyer was accused of making the gesture during Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s senate confirmation hearing. It seemed as unlikely then as it does now.
Kavanaugh’s former law clerk Zina Bash is flashing a white power sign behind him during his Senate confirmation hearing. They literally want to bring white supremacy to the Supreme Court. What a national outrage and a disgrace to the rule of law. https://t.co/uQGOpNa6xg
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) September 4, 2018
“When my supervisor said that I was being accused of doing a white supremacist gesture, that was baffling,” Cafferty said. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to get over this, but to lose your dream job for playing with your fingers, that’s a hard pill to swallow.”
Cafferty is Mexican-American and says he comes from a diverse family of all races. He says he’s proud of SDG&E for taking any allegations of racism seriously, but he wants his job back.
For their part, SDG&E issued a statement which said, “We hold all SDG&E employees to a high standard and expect them to live up to our values every day. We conducted a good faith and thorough investigation that included gathering relevant information and multiple interviews, and took appropriate action.”
NBC 7 contacted the man who took the photo and posted it on Twitter. “He has since deleted his account and said he may have gotten “spun up” about the interaction and misinterpreted it. He says he never intended for Cafferty to lose his job.”
Too bad he hadn’t minded his own business in the first place.
Cafferty is just another casualty of an overzealous social justice warrior. He should file a wrongful termination lawsuit against SDG&E.
A former SDG&E employee was fired after a stranger posted a picture of him on Twitter accusing him of making a white power sign with his hand. https://t.co/5Re9QjcIV6
— NBC 7 San Diego (@nbcsandiego) June 16, 2020